Is Apple giving up on the MAC

I help a lot of friends and relatives when they have computer issue and the problems I am encountering on their systems (almost all MAC’s few with PC’s) and my MAC just proves that Apple is not interested in laptops anymore nor software upgrades for them. Every time I need to update a MAC lately the password does not work and when I say send a new password sometimes they have the wrong address, but the best part is that once you get the error message if you wait a few minutes the software will start updating?

My icloud password never works at signin.   I cannot use Safari for browsing as it is not up to date and you cannot access netflix using Safari.   When using itunes everytime I exit the program the software crashes!!   Where are the people that Steve left this company too?

Here is a link to even a better review from USAtoday –

http://laptops.reviewed.com/features/there-is-no-perfect-macbook-and-apple-doesnt-care?utm_source=usat&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=collab

 

LINKS TO GOOD SITES

Travel Links

Link for single travelers 

http://www.vacationstogo.com/ticker.cfm?sort=p&r=0&jpw=107

https://www.clark.com/todays-national-travel-deals

Hotels comparing  

https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/6276008

Finding flights 

https://www.google.com/flights/

NCL Ships and cruises with Studio Rooms:

 https://www.ncl.com/vacations/norwegian-bliss-norwegian-breakaway-norwegian-epic-norwegian-escape-norwegian-getaway-norwegian-pearl-1-guest-texas?ships=4294946781+4294959550+4294959811+4294959336+4294959434+4294961387&cruise=1&cruiseTour=1&cruiseHotel=1&cruiseHotelAir=1&numberOfGuests=4294953450&state=TX&pageSize=10&currentPage=1&sortBy=Featured&autoPopulate=f&from=resultPage

Great cruise deals some are last minute

 http://www.cruisecritic.com/bargains/lastminute.cfm?sort=provider

Consumer Links   Help with Consumer Issues

http://elliott.org/

http://www.clark.com/

Technical Links for help  

https://www.google.com/

https://www.komando.com/

Finding shows on netflix  

http://netflixcodes.me/

HELPFUL ALEXA COMMANDS

Getting Amazon’s virtual assistant’s attention when using connected speakers is quite simple. All you need to say is “Alexa” and she is ready to execute your command. Let’s start with the basics.

Basic commands

  • Alexa, help
  • Alexa, mute
  • Alexa, unmute
  • Alexa, stop
  • Alexa, turn up/down the volume
  • Alexa, go to sleep

Alarm clock and calendar

  • Alexa, what time is it?
  • Alexa, what’s the date?
  • Alexa, set an alarm for 6 a.m.
  • Alexa, snooze
  • Alexa, set a repeating alarm for 6 a.m. weekdays
  • Alexa, when’s my next alarm?
  • Alexa, cancel my alarm for 8 a.m.
  • Alexa, cancel all alarms
  • Alexa, set a timer for 30 minutes
  • Alexa, set a second timer for 10 minutes
  • Alexa, add an event to my calendar
  • Alexa, what’s on my calendar for today?

Flash Briefings

A Flash Briefing is a quick overview of news and other content that you can discover and enable in the Skills section of the Alexa app. Alexa reads text or plays audio content provided by each enabled skill. Flash Briefing’s typically become a regular part of your day.

  • Alexa, give me my Flash Briefing
  • Alexa, what’s in the news?
  • Alexa, open USA Today 
  • Alexa, next
  • Alexa, previous
  • Alexa, pause

Local and traffic information

  • Alexa, how is traffic?
  • Alexa, what’s my commute like?
  • Alexa, what restaurants are nearby?
  • Alexa, what are the hours for the grocery store?
  • Alexa, is the pharmacy open?
  • Alexa, what time is the movie, “Rogue One” playing?

Weather

  • Alexa, what’s the temperature?
  • Alexa, will it snow tomorrow?
  • Alexa, what’s the forecast for this weekend?
  • Alexa, what’s the weather in Seattle?
  • Alexa, what will the weather be like in New York tomorrow?
  • Alexa, is it going to rain today?
  • Alexa, what’s the extended forecast for Las Vegas?

Smart home commands

  • Alexa, discover my smart home devices
  • Alexa, connect to my phone
  • Alexa, Bluetooth – this will pair a Bluetooth gadget
  • Alexa, turn on the lights
  • Alexa, turn on the TV
  • Alexa, raise the temperature 5 degrees
  • Alexa, set the temperature to 75
  • Alexa, lock my front door
  • Alexa, tell Geneva to preheat my oven to 350 degrees – You can control GE appliances with the Geneva skill

Music commands

  • Alexa, play my Oldies playlist
  • Alexa, play the Top Pop station
  • Alexa, what’s playing?
  • Alexa, what’s this song?
  • Alexa, play music by Elvis
  • Alexa, play the top songs this week
  • Alexa, turn it up/down
  • Alexa, stop the music
  • Alexa, resume
  • Alexa, shuffle my new music
  • Alexa, play the Frank Sinatra station on Pandora
  • Alexa, add this song to my Prime Music library
  • Alexa, play some blues
  • Alexa, shop for new music by Ed Sheeran
  • Alexa, what’s popular from U2?
  • Alexa, play samples by Louis Armstrong
  • Alexa, buy Nevermind by Nirvana

Order products from Amazon

  • Alexa, order laundry detergent
  • Alexa, buy bathroom tissue
  • Alexa, reorder toothpaste
  • Alexa, add protein bars to my cart
  • Alexa, track my order
  • Alexa, where’s my stuff?
  • Alexa, order an Echo Dot

To-do lists

  • Alexa, create a to-do list
  • Alexa, I need to make a doctor appointment
  • Alexa, I need to wash clothes
  • Alexa, add milk to my shopping list
  • Alexa, put get an oil change on my to-do list

Those are just a few of the Alexa commands that are available now. The list of commands will inevitably expand in the future.

Take control of your home with Amazon Alexa and your voice

A long time ago, science fiction brought us the futuristic idea of controlling your home with your voice. In recent years, home automation has emerged from the realm of maybe-someday into a more widespread reality. The popularity of Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is helping to shepherd this tech revolution into the mainstream.

Alexa isn’t just about playing your music, giving you the weather forecast, or telling silly jokes. It can also be about embracing a “Star Trek”-like world where your voice becomes a remote control for your home. Where once you had to reach for a light switch, you can now walk into your house with your arms full of groceries and say, “Alexa, turn on the kitchen light.”

Tip within a tip: Not sure what Amazon Alexa can do? Click here for a list of commands you’re missing out on.

Alexa-enabled devices like the Echo and Dot are the cornerstones of your voice-activated home, but you will still need to invest in other gadgets to get your “Jetsons” house up and running. You can go all-out and control everything from your thermostat to your door locks with Alexa, or you can take a more measured approach, set up a couple convenient lights, and add more devices to your collection down the line.

PLUG AND PLAY

Let’s start simple. One of the quickest and cheapest ways to get going is with a TP-Link Smart Plug. This device, available in a few different styles, plugs into an electrical outlet. You then connect whatever you want to control into the Smart Plug. You can schedule and control the outlets using TP-Link’s Kasa app, but the real fun is in connecting it with Alexa and using your voice instead.

TP-Link also offers an in-the-wall light switch to replace standard switches. Belkin’s WeMo line is a similar Alexa-friendly alternative with both plug and wall switches available. This is an easy way to use Alexa with electrical devices like lamps, stereos, and appliances without having to invest in a larger system.

TAKE YOUR TEMPERATURE

One of the perks of having a smart thermostat is saving money on your energy use, but voice control is a fun feature. You have a handful of options when it comes to thermostats that work with Alexa, including offerings from Nest, Honeywell, GoControl, Sensi, and First Alert.

One of the most visible options on the market is the Nest Learning Thermostat, but it’s also one of the most expensive. It learns and adapts to your schedule, adjusting your home heating and cooling to match your lifestyle. That’s nice all on its own, but you can hook it up with Alexa and then command it to set specific target temperatures or raise or lower the temperature by a set number of degrees. You can also control multiple Nest thermostats, so you can ask Alexa to warm up the living room while turning down the temp upstairs.

LOCK IT DOWN

Voice-controlled smart locks are an intriguing new development in the Alexa world, but they’re mainly of interest to early adopters right now. The August Smart Lock brought us Alexa’s first smart-lock skill in mid-2016, but the voice commands are limited for good reason. You can tell Alexa to check if your door is locked or to go ahead and lock your door, but you can’t unlock it with your voice. That’s for your own security. You wouldn’t want a stranger standing outside your window telling Alexa to unlock your house.

Another caveat for the August lock is the need to use the August Connect Wi-Fi bridge to make it integrate with Alexa. That brings the price of the lock system up to around $300 with limited voice functionality. If you were planning to buy and install a smart lock anyway, then you could look at the Alexa feature as a bonus, rather than a driving factor in your purchasing decision.

HIT THE HUB

A smart-home hub is like a brain that operates multiple devices in a house. These hubs can control everything from thermostats to light bulbs to light switches to security cameras. There are many options to choose from, including offerings from Samsung, Wink, Logitech, Insteon, Alarm.com, and Vivint. Some of these hubs (like the ones from Vivint and Alarm.com) require dealer installation, but others you can do yourself.

We’ll take a closer look at the Samsung SmartThings Hub as an example of what to expect. The hub works with compatible light switches, smart bulbs, motion sensors, water leak sensors, fan controllers, video doorbells, cameras, and door locks. While the SmartThings app gives you ultimate control over all those devices, the Alexa feature means you can use your voice to turn lights off and on and adjust the thermostat. You can also use Alexa to control what Samsung calls “Routines,” a set of interconnected commands such as adjusting the lighting and raising the heat across your entire house for when you get up in the morning.

ALEXA EXPANSIONS

This is just a sampling of some of the home automation devices that play nice with Alexa. The ecosystem is constantly growing. For example, LG announced an Alexa-enabled smart refrigerator earlier this year. Samsung’s Powerbot VR7000 joins Neato’s Botvac Connect as a voice-controlled vacuum cleaner option.

There are very few home frontiers left untouched by Alexa now. It’s just a matter of how many and what kinds of gadgets and appliances you want to invest in. You don’t have to go out and replace all your household machines, but you might look to see which products offer Alexa integration as you naturally upgrade and update your home.

 

How to save your phone battery

Problem: Your phone dies by lunchtime

Why does it seem like phone batteries just aren’t getting any better? Every year we’re promised battery life that bests what’s currently on the market and after six months we’re back to having dead smartphones before we even have a chance to dig into our lunch. Well, I have good news and bad news: The bad news is that because virtually every smartphone relies on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, and that particular technology has a habit of degrading in a big way over time, it’s pretty much impossible to trick your battery into being more hardy. The good news, thankfully, is that you can take steps early on to keep your battery in the best shape for a longer time.

Solution: Treat your battery better
First things first: Batteries get worse over time because rechargeable tech can only handle a limited number of recharges and full discharges before it starts to poop out. Letting a lithium ion battery discharge almost to the point of dying is extremely bad for it, and the universal consensus is that you should do everything in your power to keep your phone from falling below 20%. If you make a habit of letting your phone hit 2% before recharging it, it’ll degrade faster than normal, and you’ll soon see your phone biting the dust right in the middle of your day. Do everything you can to keep your phone topped off, and avoid running it dry.

Okay, so what do you do if you’ve already got a busted battery and your phone is one of the many that don’t allow you to actually swap it out? You have a few options, but your best bet is to grab a portable battery pack — the ones built into cases, like the Mophie Juicepack, are a great option if you’re prone to losing things, but you can also go for a separate accessory like those from Anker, which can provide several full backup charges.

Handy Google Chrome extensions that make browsing a breeze

MOMENTUM

The Momentum Chrome extension has over 2.5 million users and you can see why once you install it. It has a compelling purpose: to turn your new tab page into a useful (and beautiful) productivity tool. Momentum walks you through the setup process after you install it. What you will notice first are the lovely background images. You will also see the weather up in the corner, the time displayed prominently in the middle, a pleasant greeting, and an inspirational quote at the bottom.

Momentum lets you build a to-do list, set daily goals, and keep important links at your fingertips. Every time you open a new tab, you will see a reminder to help keep you on task. It’s a big step up from the regular Chrome new tab window.

GOOGLE KEEP

The internet is a big place and it can be a challenge to keep track of what’s truly important to you as you’re traveling from website to website, absorbing information. Google Keep is a way to catalog pages, images, and text for easy access later on.

You can access your saved information through keep.google.com. To add to your Keep collection, install the extension, and then just click the lightbulb icon in the upper corner of Chrome. It will give you the option to add a note. You can also save individual images and selected text. Later, you can head to keep.google.com to add labels, archive or trash a saved item, or set a reminder. This is like a much more advanced version of the old bookmarks feature. Your inner organizer will rejoice.

WIKIWAND

Wikipedia is an incredible resource, a fountain of knowledge covering everything from celebrity biographies to historical events. But it’s not the prettiest website around. You can transform Wikipedia’s utilitarian interface into a more modern web experience with Wikiwand. Install the extension, head over to Wikipedia, and you will immediately notice the cleaner layout, larger font, and visually appealing photo collages. The table of contents for each page now loads in a bar on the left and stays accessible even as you scroll through long articles.

Naturally, Wikiwand will appeal to anyone who spends a fair amount of time browsing through Wikipedia, but it’s also a welcome improvement on the interface for casual users looking for a more comfortable way to interact with the site. You will have a hard time going back to the regular Wikipedia formatting after you’ve discovered Wikiwand.

GRAMMARLY

We all like to make a good impression with our writing, but typos and grammar errors can easily slip into emails, status updates, and other internet endeavors. Chrome has a built-in spell-checker, but you can access more features by installing the Grammarly extension.

Grammarly handles the usual spell-checking duties by underlining words and giving you suggested replacement options, but it also monitors your writing context and looks for correctly spelled words that may be out of place, like “very” and “vary” or “pore” and “poor.” The extension does have some limitations. For example, Grammarly doesn’t work with Google Docs, but it will help clean up your writing on most popular sites, including Gmail, Facebook and Twitter.

LAZARUS: FORM RECOVERY

You’re filling in a contact form, spending some time on a well-crafted message. There are many things that can go wrong. Maybe you accidentally close the tab, or you get a network error and when you reload the page, everything you just wrote is gone. The Lazarus extension has your back when these problems crop up. It automatically saves everything you type into web forms, so you can just refill the form and go on with your day.

You know Lazarus is at work when you see a small ankh symbol in the corner of the text box. Click on it to see what Lazarus is saving or to choose the text you want reinserted into the form. You might not need it very often, but you will be glad it’s there when you do run into a problem.